Saturday, August 12, 2006

modern means

i've just finished reading a book associated with an exhibition that ran at the museum of modern art new york in association with the mori art museum tokyo in 2004 called 'modern means'. in recent times galleries have moved away from displaying art in terms of chronological art 'movements', and have begun grouping pieces from disparate periods along the lines of theme etc.

i think the thematic divisions that MoMA came up with to group modern art were quite interesting. here are the definitions that david elliot (director of mori) gives for their divisions (examples are loose, as some artists fit in more than one catagory):

primal: centres on the strategy of finding energy in the primitive forces of nature and the subconscious human mind. (eg. gaugin, munch, rodin, matisse, de koonig, gorky, pollock, bacon, freud)

reductive: traces the impulse to strip away inessential elements of form to uncover the 'purity' of what lies underneath. (eg. lloyd wright, picasso, mondrian, o'keeffe, kandinsky, albers, gego)

commonplace: considers ways in which art has absorbed mass culture and media, finding new forms of beauty in them and changing their nature in the process, sometimes with socially critical intent. (eg. christo, indiana, warhol, lichtenstein, rosenquist, hamilton, johns, koons, opie)

mutable: looks at the transforming power of art, its ability to make familiar things strange and endow them with new significance, sometimes with positive but more often with profoundly disturbing results. (eg. ernst, miro, man ray, gober, sherman, hurst)

aesthetically, my favourite image in the book was the one above by edvard munch called 'the kiss IV' and dated 1897-1902. and not at all like 'the scream'.

on the headphones: 'following' by chungking, from the album 'we travel fast'.

No comments: